19 August 2011

Scheduling Time

We all go through it, how the hell do we fit everything into our days?  How do we meet the needs and wants of our children, our partner, our home and ourselves?  No, I'm not about to give you the golden ticket to figuring it out. 

I've recently been struggling with figuring out how to make every little thing fit into the few hours we have each day, the few days we have each week, and the few weeks we have each month.  The year can go fuck itself.  Some of the demands I'm navigating:
School (now 3 days a week)
Dance lessons (enrolling in this fall)
Playdates (she's very social and wants to know who we're seeing and where we're going each day)
Homeschooling (she's very intelligent and we want to have her tested next Spring for early entrance to Kindergarten)
One-on-one time with Adam and I (when we do this, she behaves better)

FunFit classes (enrolled in for the fall once a week)
Playdates (all of her friends are Kara's friends.  She needs more babies and toddlers closer to her age around)
Naps (she doesn't nap so well out and about and is a horrid night time sleeper without them)
One-on-one time with Adam and/or I (she often has to share us with Kara or other household chores)

Some sort of athletic activity
One-on-one time with me
Time to himself
Work and conference time

Cleaning (as in, all of it.  I don't want to admit how much of this gets negelcted.  But if you're a dirt or germaphobe, don't come over)
Cooking (I want to be sure what we're eating is healthy and a wide variety of styles)

Projects (I can't count how many I have half started somewhere)
Organizing (since I can't use my organizational skills in an office setting I go nuts at home and organize and label everything.  But it never stays that way)
Artistic expression (I miss theater and writing.  I just signed up for a once a week for four week writing boot camp)
Time to myself
Time with Adam

So yeah, it's a lot.  It's hard to fit all of that into the time that we have.  Our general weekly schedule fits in the basics and the hard scheduled items (like school and classes).  But then on the weekends it gets tricky.  We have to go grocery shopping (and that includes the meal planning, which can take over an hour).  We have naps to get in.  We try to pick up and clean around the house the things we don't do daily (toy pick up, bits of laundry- although one load can take over a day to go from getting it to the washer to put away, dishwasher unloaded/reload, kitchen picked up).  We also fit in a lot of our socialization with other families, errands we want to do together and then time at home, doing nothing.  Ahhhhh nothing.

Often things get pushed aside.  Like, I don't give Kara much attention when she works on her workbooks because I'm trying to play with Rowan.  Or both girls get ignored while I try to cook dinner.  Often Adam and I don't get time together so we can get things picked up.

I've started to remove things from my to-do list and social calendar.  I used to have a planned playdate once a month on Saturday for babies and toddlers.  I've sinced decided that no one was coming anyway to not waste time on it.  I had to cut back what work I do with my mom's group because it was taking away from time with Adam or to work on my projects.  I've scheduled activities that will fit what each person needs and then set up weekends and near schedule free times.  We try to have at least one "unplanned" weekend a month.  That means we turn down ALL invitations for that weekend.  If we really want to do something, we rearrange so that we have one free weekend. 

I don't know if this need for uber scheduling or the need to ignore half your house is part of being a parent or just part of life in general.  But I do know that each month I look at my calendar and wonder how the hell I got so booked up so fast.  And when will life slow down? The answer?  Never.

01 August 2011

An open letter to my mom

Dear Mom;

I know it's been a while since I last sat down to write to you.  I'm sure you understand how busy I've been though.  The girls certainly do take up a lot of my time.  Add to it that I try to keep some semblance of a social life going, tend to my marriage and that wonderful relationship, and help other moms out and well, there isn't much time left for writing to you.  Not that you really need me to write, you know what's going on in my life just as well as I do.  With your vantage point you probably understand it more than I do.  Which kind of brings me to the point of this letter. 

It's been 12 years since I last got to actually talk to you.  I'm really sad for those last words too. They weren't very kind or loving at all.  I'm sure you understand that I was angry and hurt.  But it doesn't change the fact that my last words to you had nothing to do with how much I love and value you.  I know I've mentioned it before here and there how much I appreciate all the long listening sessions you've given me.  Adam's about the only other person who just knows to sit and listen and to respond quietly and gently.  I remember how in college I'd call you almost every day just to talk.  I'd babble for ever about this that and the other thing, half the time it was rambling and I probably never finished half my thoughts.  But you'd listen and respond where you thought it was valued or important.  You taught me many lessons in those conversations even with a simple and quiet word here and there.  I remember one time you told me that you disagreed with me and explained why.  I can't remember the exact reason or topic, but I remember the calm way you talked to me.  You didn't judge me for my opinion or my view.  You just simply told me where you were coming from.  That one time, believe it or not, has really shaped how I talk with people when we disagree.  I try to stay calm and follow your example of never judging.  The biggest lesson you ever taught me, in all my life has been to accept and welcome everyone.  No matter who they are, they are valid people.  It's been rough sometimes. There are times I want to brush people off, but even when I get into arguments and think that I completely clash with someone, I still care about them.  I still want to be sure they're ok.  Remember when you accepted the guy I was engaged to and everyone else didn't?  The way you welcomed D into our home and our lives helped me feel secure in my choices and let me know that they were my choices to make.  I have always wondered what you thought of Adam.  The notes and letters I've gotten from you haven't really told me anything about how you see him.  But you only got to meet him what, 3 or 4 times before we parted ways?  There's so much I want to say and tell you.  12 years is a long time to go without talking to one's best friend.  Huh, I don't suppose I ever told you that either?  Yeah, the times that you were around and really with it I counted you as my best friend.  You've always known me better than anyone else.  Dad once told me that I knew you better that just about anyone.  I always wondered how it was that you and I got to be so close when my personality is so much more like Dad's?  I suppose it's because you and I were together a fair bit when I was younger.  I can't go to a mall or a garage sale without thinking of you.  And even though we spent so much time going to malls or garage sales together, you still taught me that it's not about the having or the buying.  The material things are nice and all, but they don't take the place of the personal interactions.  Not to mention the impact it all has on the earth.  Yup, I know, I'm your little hippie child.  You should see it when I put on the Peter, Paul & Mary 10 Years Together album (on vinyl even!).  I start dancing and singing and the girls get into it too.  There's hope for them yet Mom!  I bet I drove you nuts sometimes with how much I'd play that album.  Over and over and over again.  Usually skipping right to "If I had a hammer".  I remember I'd go find a bell to ring.  At least I never went to get a hammer to bang. 

Oh mum, so much time has passed.  When Rowan was born I wished more than ever that you were there to see her.  My first look at her and I thought "she looks like Mom!".  She still does too.  Her face reminds me so much of you.  It's funny, but Kara's named for you but Rowan looks like you.  I guess that way both my girls have a part of you to them.  Their hair even reminds me of you.  It's sort of that all in one in between color.  Not quite brown or blonde or red.  Speaking of which, did you ever notice my eyes changing to more of a hazel?  Since you've been away I've noticed them changing.  Again, it reminds me of you.  I remember you saying your eyes were changing color as you got older.  There's so much about getting older and the changes I'm going through I wish I could talk to you about.  I remember when I was younger and I'd be in your room while you got dressed.  I remember asking what those marks were on your belly and you told me stretch marks from having had us 3 kids.  I remember watching the way you put on a bra.  Now that I'm older I'd love to talk to you about how my body has changed and how I see it differently since I've had 2 kids.  It's one thing to talk to my other mom friends, but to talk to the woman who bore me and raised me would be really helpful and nice.  Heck, even the simpler things like the fact that my hands are starting to ache more from simple tasks.  And my one knee hurts a lot lately.  Did you ever go through all that?  Is this part of being your daughter or is it just what every woman goes through?  I hear my friends talking about how they talked to their mom lately. Or their mom was over and comparing their kids to them as kids.  I wish you would come do that too.  I wonder just how spoiled you'd make all your grandkids.  I imagine very. 

How have you been by the way?  Do you not worry about all the issues that were bothering you before?  Have you gotten to see the people you wanted and the places you always dreamed of?  What was it like when you left?  Did you notice us at all?  Sorry I wasn't there when you left.  I couldn't stay to watch, I just had to get out and away.  I sometimes wonder if I had stayed there would you have left?  If I had gone to talk to you like I had thought, would it have made any difference or was it already too late?  I guess these are things we'll never know.

Well, it's a little late.  The girls are finally asleep and Adam and I need to spend some time together.  Kara's been asking about you lately.  If you have a bit, I'm sure she'd like get to know you.  But I understand if you're not free.  I've been thinking of making the drive to see you the next time we're back home.  It's quite a drive from Dad's though so we may wait until the girls are older.  I hope this letter finds you well.  I'll try to write again soon.  In the mean time, rest in peace and know you are well loved and missed.

Love always,
your babe